As the cannabis industry keeps pushing forward, more companies are moving to list their stock on a major U.S. exchange like the NYSE or NASDAQ. The club, however, remains relatively small.
Given the federal uncertainty that still surrounds cannabis in America and in most of the world, few cannabis companies choose the path of a public listing in order to raise funds and even fewer among them are pure-play marijuana stocks.
* Versión en Español: Empresas de Cannabis Con Acciones en las Bolsas NYSE y NASDAQ.
Listing Vs. Other Funding Sources
Cannabis companies are typically able to raise money from venture capital firms, or they can list their stock.
Listing a stock allows enables fundraising from a larger pool of investors. At the same time, a publicly-traded stock can be volatile, and even more so in an emerging sector like cannabis.
Even though listing on a major exchange such as the NYSE and NASDAQ requires a company to comply with strict transparency and accountability rules, it also sends investors a sign that the company is serious about its business.
Benzinga has compiled a list of NYSE- and NASDAQ-listed cannabis companies, as well as a short description of the company’s involvement in the sector. In the first part of the list, we focused on pure-play stocks: companies for which cannabis is their core business.
22nd Century Group, Inc. (NYSE:XXII)
This plant biotechnology company is mostly known for its workings in the tobacco industry, more precisely for its efforts to make smoking less unhealthy by minimizing the levels of nicotine in the tobacco plant. The company developed its own proprietary, reduced-nicotine tobacco varieties ending up with a tobacco product that looks, smokes and tastes like a usual cigarette but contains 95% less nicotine.
22nd Century Group entered the cannabis space for the first time back in 2014 via a research collaboration with Anandia Labs, obtaining in that manner the U.S. right from Anandia to core patents covering the cannabinoid biosynthetic pathway in hemp/cannabis plants. Furthermore, the company got access to many new hemp-cannabis plant lines such as those with no THC, and those with higher levels of CBD or CBG, which are still part of its plant development pipeline. 22nd Century Group works on developing new hemp/cannabis plants with optimized and unique cannabinoid profiles and advantageous agronomic features.
The company said its most valuable current partnership covering the hemp/cannabis industry is with KeyGene, an AgBiotech company with a specialty in crop enhancement by molecular breeding.
Akerna Corp (NASDAQ:KERN)
Akerna was launched on June 17, 2019, following the merger of cannabis-focused blank check company MTech Acquisition Corp and MJ Freeway, a provider of seed-to-sale regulatory compliance technology and Enterprise Resource Planning platform.
Akerna is the first cannabis compliance technology company to be traded on NASDAQ and is the first NASDAQ-listed cannabis company led by a woman. The company allows cannabis businesses to connect data points in their supply chain making it more transparent and accountable.
Amyris is a science and technology company that creates and manufactures sustainable ingredients for various markets, such as Clean Health & Beauty, and Flavors & Fragrances. Its connection to the cannabis industry is through the research and production of biosynthetic cannabinoids, including CBG.
(*Note – the company has inked a deal with the biotech startup Lavvan to research and develop synthetic cannabinoids in 2019. Last September, Lavvan sued the company for “wrongful use of Lavvan intellectual property in connection with their development, testing, and production of biosynthetic cannabinoids, including CBG.”)
Aphria Inc (NYSE:APHA)
Canadian medical marijuana producer Aphria became the first pure-play cannabis company to trade on the NYSE. The stock debuted on the major exchange on Nov. 2, 2018.
Prior to that, Aphria’s stock had been listed on the over-the-counter market in the U.S. and on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Listing on the NYSE was a major step for Aphria, opening the company to a larger pool of investors.
Applied DNA Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ:APDN)
Applied DNA Sciences is a biotechnology company that provides molecular technologies that promote supply chain security, anti-counterfeiting and anti-theft technology. Last year, the company entered a $5 million agreement with a Canadian cannabis consultancy TheraCann International Benchmark to use the company’s “molecular tagging” technology in the cannabis industry. Last year, at an international cannabis conference in Panama, Applied DNA presented its new marijuana tracking technology.
Arena Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ARNA)
Arena Pharmaceuticals is a biotech company located in San Diego, which has one segment of its drug pipeline dedicated to cannabinoid-type therapeutics. Other parts of its drug pipeline are focused on non-cannabinoid drugs. The core of its cannabis biotech operations is the research and development of its investigational drug candidate called Olorinab (APD371). This is an oral full agonist of the cannabinoid receptor 2 that is being researched for the treatment of various symptoms, mainly concentrated on visceral pain connected with gastrointestinal illnesses.
Aurora Cannabis Inc (NYSE:ACB)
Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis is considered one of the best stocks for full exposure to the cannabis industry. Aurora is one of the largest cannabis companies in the world. It operates eight licensed production facilities, with five sales licenses and operations in 18 countries. The company has a funded production capacity of over 500,000 kilograms. Aurora recently acquired MedReleaf in a $2.5-billion merger, the industry’s largest.
Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE:CGC)
Canopy Growth is the largest marijuana company in the world by market capitalization. It’s also one of the largest in terms of funded production capacity, with a figure of over 500,000 kg. The company is moving fast in expanding its licensed grow space. It started the year with around 800,000 square feet, but recently it has said it reached a licensed platform of 4.3 million feet. Overall, Canopy has a production platform of 5.6 million feet, of which now 75 percent is licensed.
CannTrust Holdings Inc. (NYSE:CTST)
On Feb. 25, CannTrust Holdings joined its peers on the New York Stock Exchange. CannTrust provides medical and recreational cannabis and cannabis products, operating a 450,000 square-foot facility in Pelham Ontario, which it plans to expand by another 390,000 square feet. CannTrust has a 60,000 square-foot packaging facility in Vaughan, Ontario. Outside of Canada, CannTrust works with Cannatrek Ltd in Australia and has a joint venture with STENOCARE in Denmark.
Cara Therapeutics (NASDAQ:CARA)
Clinical-stage biotechnology company, Cara Therapeutics, is involved in the research and design of various chemical entities to help treat pain and itching, with most of them created to address opioid receptors. In previous years the company was examining the potential of CR-701, a synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonist for treating neuropathic pain and its ability to minimize hyperalgesia and allodynia.
cbdMD Inc (NYSE:YCBD)
cbdMD offers a range of CBD products, such as tinctures, oil, gummies, topicals and pet products. Recently, the company has partnered with a number of athletes, such as retired UFC champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and professional golfer Bubba Watson.
On May 1, cbdMD changed its name from Level Brands and the ticker from LEVB to YCBD following a vote from shareholders. It’s the only CBD-focused U.S. company traded on a major exchange.
Coffee Holding Co., Inc. (NASDAQ:JVA)
A family-run coffee business that has been operating since 1971, providing a plethora of coffee products across the U.S. and Canada, Coffee Holdings joined the cannabis industry…